How important are museums, TV shows and after school clubs to teaching kids science? Ira Flatow and guests look at "informal science education" and what researchers are learning about learning science. Plus, what's the best way to keep undergraduate science majors in science?
For years, Steve Jobs courted biographer Walter Isaacson to write the definitive story of his life. When Isaacson learned how sick Jobs really was, he accepted. Here he discusses profiling the tech visionary, a task that often involved reconciling Jobs' recollections with those of his friends, family and colleagues.
Or The Beach — Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, affects some five percent of Americans in the winter as daily sunlight hours dwindle. Psychiatrist Richard A. Friedman discusses the evolutionary origins of the winter blues, and treatments ranging from light therapy to a trip to the beach.
Discovery Channel's MythBusters have taken on more than 700 myths, from how hard it is to find a needle in a haystack (it's hard) to whether toothbrushes have fecal matter on them (they do). Series hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage talk about the show with host Ira Flatow.
In 1956, dentist and amateur ornithologist William Rhein captured the rare Imperial woodpecker on 16 mm color film. Although this 85 second clip is the only known photographic record of the bird, Rhein kept the film to himself until after he died. Writer and bird fanatic Tim Gallagher tells the story of Rhein's expedition to look for the bird, and his own trip to the same mountains over 50 years later.
A variety of hair-straightening products used in professional salons can expose both hairdressers and their customers to formaldehyde, an independent study finds. And the chemical can be really irritating, literally.
Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 1:58 pm
Russians are feeling pretty gloomy after spending days trying to contact a spacecraft aimlessly orbiting Earth.
The Phobos-Grunt spacecraft was destined for one of Mars' moons. As we reported earlier this week, it was supposed to scoop up some rocks and return home with its specimens, but one of its boosters failed to ignite and now it's stuck.
Metaphors don't come balder than the one at the center of Lars von Trier's Melancholia. It's both the emotional state of the protagonist Justine, played by Kirsten Dunst, and also the name of a small planet on what might be a collision course with Earth. Actually, it does strike Earth in a lyrical, eight-minute, slow-motion prelude, but there's no way to know if that's real or a dream. Of course, the whole film can be taken as a dream, a bad but gorgeous one scored to the same few bars of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde.
Improvements in medical care and equipment mean fewer troops are dying on the battlefield. But more troops are returning home severely wounded, with injuries that require lifelong care and cost millions of dollars in medical bills.